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Domestic & Family Violence

Now more than ever, general practice plays a vital role in caring for people experiencing family and domestic violence.

International researchers have estimated that a full-time GP sees up to five women per week experiencing underlying intimate partner violence, however 9 out of 10 women have never been asked about this by a GP.

One in four women attending general practice with current depression has experienced domestic family violence during the past 12 months. Depression is one of the strongest clinical predictors of intimate partner violence.

Research has also found that there is a spike in family violence during major crises and disasters. Annual crime statistics suggest that COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions may have driven record-high family violence rates.

Starting the Conversation

While men do experience family violence, it is women and children who are most affected. Often people in a violent or abusive relationship want to talk about the issue but are unsure who to tell, what to say or how to bring it up.

Starting the conversation can be challenging, but health professionals are well-placed to identify and respond to family violence. With the right tools and supports they can help empower women to break the silence and seek safety.

Primary Care Pathways to Safety: The Readiness Program

Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network alongside the University of Melbourne presents an excellent opportunity for General Practice to make an impact that can save lives.

The PHN is trialling a funded opportunity for General Practice to enhance their skills and confidence to Recognise, Respond, Refer and Record patients experiencing Domestic & Family Violence (DFV).

Participating General Practices will receive accredited in-practice education facilitated by a local GP and Family Domestic Violence expert, practice support from a Domestic and Family Violence specialist and an exclusive referral pathway amongst other benefits, such as:

  1. 40 CPD Accredited Activities Points
  2. $3000 (ex GST) incentive payment*
  3. Eligibility for QI PIP funding
  4. Online Communities of Practice
  5. Whole of practice education (in-practice or online)
  6. Supported Quality Improvement activities
  7. Access to a Domestic Violence Specialist
  8. Connection to local family violence support services.

To register your Practice’s interest in participating in The Readiness Program, please complete the Expression of Interest form.

Please download further information included in the Primary Care Pathways to Safety Program Brochure.

For more program information, contact Shannon Richardson, Pilot Program Manager.

Shannon Richardson

Pilot Program Manager

Domestic Family Abuse and Violence GP Action Plan

The PHN has developed a Domestic Abuse and Violence (DFAV) GP Action Plan, designed to enable clinicians to identify patients at immediate risk, plan, manage, record and refer via an exclusive primary care pathway for patient triage and support.

The DFAV GP Action Plan can be imported and integrated within Best Practice and Medical Director software and the referral sent via Medical Objects and or Argus.

IMPORTANT: Do not double-click on DFAV GP Action plan from your computer as this will open it in Word and corrupt the fields. Please see Summary Sheet for importing instructions.

Posters for General Practice

“Yesterday I spent 40 minutes with a domestic family violence patient who I have looked after for 5 years. She sat in the waiting room surrounded by the DV posters and it really sunk in what he’s doing to her. She found the posters very helpful. I like them too, framed, not just stuck to the wall, illustrating to patients their importance and permanence for patients to see again and again until they feel ready to disclose.

"We talked about the deteriorating way he treats her, packing bags, emergency escape etc. Because I now have the confidence and know what to do, I could really focus on what she was saying and her emotions and I referred her to DVCAS. Thank you for providing this valuable training which has helped immeasurably.”

- Central Coast GP

If your practice would like to obtain domestic violence posters, please visit our website or phone Shannon Richardson, Pilot Program Manager on 02 4088 5937. Domestic & Family Violence - Primary Health Network (

Pocket Guide for General Practice

A Pocket Guide for General Practice has been produced providing information, insights and conversation prompts to assist GPs to Recognise, Respond appropriately, and Refer patients experiencing Domestice and Family Violence.

Domestic and Family Violence Practice and Patient Support

The PHN has commissioned three DFV Local Links to support General Practice to ensure responses to DFV are safe and supportive, so that patients receive the right support at the right time.

The Local Links are specialists in domestic and family violence and are dedicated to supporting your general practice.

Your Local Link can assist with:

  • Confidential advice and secondary consultations on supporting patients experiencing DFV
  • Support to develop or enhance practice policies and procedures
  • Information sessions on how to undertake risk assessments and safety planning
  • A streamlined referral pathway where patients receive triage and support
  • Information on relevant training opportunities

For more information, please contact your Local Link:

Amber Smyth
Contact: M: 0466 109 296 Email:
Regions: Tamworth, Narrabri, Quirindi, Scone, Gunnedah, Manilla, Moree

Tanya Norman

Contact: M: 0427 742 173 Email:
Regions: Armidale, Inverell, Glen Innis, Walcha, Uralla, Guyra, Taree, Forster

Jordan Hardy

Contact: M: 0481 960 637 Email:
Regions: Central Coast, Newcastle, Upper Hunter, Port Stephens

Social Media Assets and Posters for General Practice

Let your patients know that your practice is a safe place to seek support if they are experiencing violence at home.

Primary Care Pathways to Safety: Co Design

The PHN has invested in a robust co-design process to better understand the issues around General Practice and Domestic and Family Violence.

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